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by Katherine Hall Page
William Morrow, May 2019
240 pages
ISBN: 0062863258

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

THE BODY IN THE WAKE by Katherine Hall Page features a summertime crisis. Faith is ready to enjoy a summer to herself. Her husband is working on the opposite end of Sanpere Island, and her children are either abroad or working. She's got some projects in the works, the most important being helping her friend Pix Miller with her daughter's wedding.

Meanwhile Pix is ready for the perfect wedding. Everything is set, scheduled, and arranged to the bride and groom's expectations. Then some new neighbors who are less than friendly begin tearing down the trees between their two houses, and when things start to go wrong for them, they are quick to place the blame on the Millers. Just when she thinks it can't get any worse, the groom's mother arrives suddenly, and wants to change the entire wedding to fit her lavish lifestyle standards.

Faith is doing her best to be a supportive friend, wife, and mother as the summer goes on. She can distract her friends for only a short time, but she discovers a problem bigger than wedding woes and a monster in-law. A body washes up in a local pond that appears to have drowned. He's a man from off the island with a unique tattoo and Faith soon learns the man was dead before he went in the water.

Although THE BODY IN THE WAKE the 25th novel in the Faith Fairchild Mystery series, it is the first one for me. Perhaps it was the result of a long few weeks, but I thoroughly enjoyed this novel more than I expected. It was a quick read, with a charmingly simple plot, and helped me unwind.

Right from the start, Page introduces who Faith is and what kinds of adventures she's had. In less than a page, I know Faith's kind and determined personality, her connections to the world around her, and her history for solving murders. Faith's friends, and the supporting characters are introduced one by one in an easy to understand fashion. Every character also has a unique voice and so it's difficult to mix up who is who.

Everyone has their own problem to solve, and it's fun wondering how they will go about it. The pacing is quick but balanced so that everyone has a chance to shine. Unfortunately, this attention to individual characters seems to be at the cost of the murder mystery. Faith discovers the body early on, and then the local police take control of the investigation. She gives her statements, but she doesn't investigate much further because there is already so much going on.

I really can't say much else about the murder without giving too much away, and even then, it sounds like too much. That's how little detective work is done by this amateur detective. As I mentioned, however, that did not make the book any less entertaining. The murder is the most serious, but there are a couple tamer mysteries that will keep you guessing, and even a few twists you wouldn't expect.

THE BODY IN THE WAKE felt more like a family drama with a murder mystery subplot. Yet, that's what I enjoyed about it. It didn't take itself too seriously, and it wasn't outlandish or unbelievable. This is the perfect novel for relaxing after a long day. I look forward to reading the first in the series and the many more that follow.

Keshena Hanson recently earned a degree in English from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and was published in the University's Sheepshead Review. Her love for mystery started with Blue's Clues, and now she reads any mystery she can get her hands on.

Reviewed by Keshena Hanson, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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